St Mary's Church, Lydden Church

Image Source: John Vigar


Why isn't this charming little church better known? It is the quintessential Downland church, built of flint and constructed near the bottom of a steep dry chalk valley away from its later village which grew up on the main road out of Dover. It is mainly thirteenth century in character and consists of just west tower, nave and chancel. On the north side the church sits right into the hillside - a perennial cause of damp. Here too is a tiny low-side window indicating that the few houses that existed when the church was new would have been on this side of the valley. Inside it is very dark and at first glimpse appears to be the product of a harsh nineteenth century restoration. However, there is much of interest including a charming 1952 window over the pulpit - the only colour to be found here. The chancel has two blank wall arcades on north and south walls with rounded heads - always a difficult thing to date - and a fine two seat sedilia with plain pointed (13thC) tops. Next to them is a very simple piscina of similar age. Strangely there is no chancel step - possibly the result of the Victorians putting a higher floor in the chancel to bring it up to the nave level - a rare, but not unique thing in Kent. What makes this church really worth a visit are the two recesses for tombs in the south nave wall. Their moulded arches repay close attention - no mechanical detailing here, but something rather wonderful and varied. Late they may be, but these late medieval carvings could compete with anything in East Kent. The left hand one has armorial bearings carved into its cill. A little charmer if ever there was one.



Church Data


1851 Census Details


Seating Capacity: No return

Morning Attendance: No return

Afternoon Attendance: No return

Evening Attendance: No return


Architecture Details


Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval

Restoration: -

Second Restoration: -


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